As per most big American car / hot rod related events, I had really been looking forward to AmeriCARna this year. Having attended the very first one in 2007, I missed out on 2008 due to work commitments. I decided I definitely would not miss this year, and booked the time off work well in advance to guarantee there wouldn’t be any hassles.
The day kicked off with an urgent run to DSM Studios in Auckland to record the narration for episode 5 of The Red Shift, due to the fact I would be away for almost a week and I normally go to the studio on Fridays. I flew through the script and all was done in less than 10 minutes (another tough day at the office haha). It was then time to hit the road and head for New Plymouth.
It was around 10.30am when I began my journey, and getting out of Auckland is one of life’s treats. Mind you, dealing with the traffic getting out of Auckland, is NOT. After an hour of battling, I finally broke free and was able to push the Valiant Safari Wagon to a whopping 50 mph (around 85 – 90 kph). Now, I wasn’t actually going to take the Valiant on this journey, and had resigned myself to driving the japper for sake of fuel economy and also being an American based event, my Aussie wagon wouldn’t be valid for the cruises anyway.
But alas, as I had been trying to sell the wagon, it turned out an offer came in from a bloke in Wellington the day before I was departing for Taranaki (about half way to Wellington). So to save him a full journey, I told him I would meet him in New Plymouth and save him some petrol money. The hard part has been that my journey down was awesome. The car ran like a dream, apart from running low on trans fluid till I got to a servo to top her up. With windows down and sun shining, it was nice just cruising through the hills, stopping off at beaches and driving slow like Grandad would.
The trip took me longer than expected due to a couple of stops and road works everywhere, which meant many periods of driving at crawling speed. But im not complaining; it still beats doing a normal days work. But with said delays, I finally arrived in the township of Inglewood just after 5pm. The main street was blocked off, so I found a park and had a quick browse at the cars on display. Talk about a shit load of cars, American cars everywhere, it was awesome.
Knowing full well that I had another four days of cars ahead of me, I focused more on finding old friends and sorting out what gatherings we would have in order to catch up properly over a few drinks during the course of the coming days. With that done I made tracks further south to Hawera, where I would catch up with my friend Alison and crash at her folks place for the night. Her parents are cool as, and her dad is ex Navy and just a great guy to hang out with. After chatting for a while it was bedtime. I was knackered, and I fell asleep within seconds of falling on the mattress. God I love sleep.